A Grateful Heart

Kasia Kwitnieski Blog 2 holding up a food tray in the kitchen at Francis House

Depending on the hat I am wearing for the day at Francis House, I either work with administration or work as a caregiver. When I am an administrator, my typical day starts with preparing and making breakfast for the residents. Each resident can order whatever they would like for breakfast including omelet’s, pancakes, poached eggs, waffles, etc. which improves my cooking skills and makes my mornings eventful! After I have finished up the dishes from breakfast, I will typically help with any administrative work that needs to be done including logging volunteer hours, answering the phones, or helping with various other tasks that need to be done around the house. When lunch time arrives, I help take lunch orders and serve lunch to the residents! In the afternoon, I typically spend time visiting with the residents talking with them about their life or sharing with them about mine. This is time I cherish getting to know the resident’s and hearing all of the fun stories or memories they have to share from their life. The afternoon is typically mixed in with more administrative work that varies from day to day and before you know it, it’s time to leave for the day! 

When I am a caregiver, I start by receiving a report from the overnight shift on how the residents are doing or any changes. After the report, I start my morning rounds checking on the residents and getting them out of bed if they are awake. After breakfast is served to those who want it, various daily hygiene routines are carried out with the residents including brushing teeth, giving baths, changing clothes/linens if needed, and repositioning the residents! The intimate physical care with the residents is something I am so grateful to get the chance to do. Mixed in with the care for the day is cleaning each resident’s room including sweeping, mopping, sanitizing and putting away clothes. After lunch, the afternoon flies by with more care needs and various activities with the residents including taking them on walks around the house or checking in any visitors. After performing final cleaning tasks and giving a report to the next shift, I am ready to head home for the day!

A high of getting to serve at Francis House is having an experience that will change my perspective for the rest of my life. I receive more from the residents I serve than I could ever give to them. Knowing you are making an impact in someone’s life whether it’s simply making a resident laugh or comforting a family member is truly a gift. Along with service changing my life for the better, I have received unconditional love, acceptance, and joy from my community members. Living with seven other people who share the same values, faith, highs and lows of the day, and service experiences with you is something I will always cherish and be grateful for. A low of service is seeing suffering that doesn’t seem fair and knowing there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome of it. Although this has been hard to witness, it has made me possess a gratitude for the life I live that I would not have fully realized without this experience. A low of living in community is having to grocery shop for eight people, but even that seems normal to me now!

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